Combat Rules and Building Decks

In this homebrew version of D&D, there are 6 ability scores used for attack rolls and defense values (excluding Armor Class which is only a defense value), as well as the 12 skill categories which encompass a broad range of other skill sets, and are directly affected by ability scores. Refer to Skills for more information on skills and skill categories.


Ability Scores and Skills

Ability scores, in offensive situations, are always added on to a 1d20 roll. When used defensively, the scores remain static, and instead a +10 bonus (AKA awareness bonus) is added to the defensive value.

On the other hand, skills, in any situation, are always added to a 1d20 roll when used.

Ability scores are always rolled against other ability scores, and skills against other skills. An ability score and a skill will rarely be matched against each other. For example, a Strength vs. Charisma roll is acceptable, and so is a Listen vs. Sneak, but you wouldn’t see roll Strength vs. Listen (ability vs. skill) or Bluff vs. Charisma (skill vs. ability) very often.



Combat takes place in turn-based fashion rotating between individual players, individual monsters or groups of monsters in an order determined by the initiative roll at the beginning of each round.

Steps to Starting Battle

(Step 1) Laying out the Battlefield and Rolling Initiative

At the beginning of battle, players and the DM first arrange their miniatures on the battlefield mat followed by a roll for their initiative to determine the turn order.

Initiative Score = 1d20 + Dexterity + Misc.
(Step 2) Rolling for Rounds in a Stage

A “round” is considered complete when the last player in the turn order has finished his/her turn. A “stage” is simply a period of time within the battle that can range from 2-4 rounds. A 1d6 die is rolled at the beginning of each stage to determine the number of rounds for that stage. When a stage is completed and a new stage begins, players and the DM return all used and unused tech, spell or ability cards to their deck and select a fresh new hand.

(Step 3) Building a Hand from your Deck

Each player constructs a hand of combat technique and/or spell cards from their personal deck. The composition of decks and hands are based on the class of the player’s character. Refer to the Class Rules page for more details on this.

(Step 4) Choosing your Action

At the beginning of every round, all players select in advance one card from their hand to be played on their turn. Once the round begins, this card cannot be swapped for another card in the player’s hand. The Standard Action card is always available to all players to take instead of choosing a card from the hand. Although this is in fact a card, for in game purposes it doesn’t count as one and cannot be utilized in effects that include the use of cards in any way.

Using the Standard Action card allows the player to do one of the following:

  • Make a standard attack
  • Use a skill
  • Move around again
  • Withdraw (move 1 space without drawing an Attack of Oppurtunity)
(Step 5) Taking Your Turn

On your turn, you may do two things in any order: move your character or use the card you selected at the beginning of the round.

Some actions are so small or trivial that they can be done freely without consuming an action point. Here are some examples of what would constitute free actions:

Free Actions:
  • Using an Instant
  • Yelling to someone
  • Dropping something
  • Kicking an object nearby (as not to do damage)

To make an attack, use a skill or cast a spell, declare a target and roll the appropriate attack score or skill score (if any). If necessary, compare the roll with the appropriate defense or skill score and determine if damage or any effects come in to play.


Card Types

Cards can be placed into one of three groups: combat techniques, spells or items. A hand of combat technique, spell and/or item cards represent a character’s “arsenal” of abilities. These three card types are similar in that using a card translates into doing something extraordinary in the heat of battle. Mechanically, however, they have a few more subtle differences.

Combat Techniques Spells Items
– Are limited based on a character’s Endurance – Are limited based on a class’s restrictions – Are limited based on quantity
– Can only be used within a battle – Grants attacks of opportunities if used in battle – May grant attacks of opportunities if used in battle

It is very important to remember that the effects of a card work in the order they are written on the card. Any special effects written before the attack roll play out before the attack is made, and vice versa.

Card Subtypes and Other Descriptors

Combat techniques and spells can be further classified based on how and when these abilities can be used as well as how frequently.

Endurance Cost (EC) – The number of endurance points the combat technique takes up.
Level – The level of a spell. Any caster class is restricted in the number of spells memorized at each spell level
Melee – Requires the use of a melee weapon. Often affected by STR.
Ranged – Requires the use of a ranged weapon. Often affected by DEX.
Destruction – A spell subtype classified by spells of a damaging or power-enhancing nature. The power behind spells of this type is typically modified by INT.
Manipulation – A second spell subtype that includes spells that inflict negative effects on foes and alters the playing field to change the pace of battle. Generally, these types of spells become more potent if the spell-caster has a higher WIS.
Protection – This third spell subtype describes defensive and restorative spells. The higher the caster’s CHA is, the more dramatic the effects of the spell.
Instant – If a card is classified as an instant, it may be played on anyone’s turn and at any time throughout the course of battle.
Enchantment – These cards often have effects lasting longer than a single turn. The enchantment will remain played until it expires or is forcibly removed. At this point, the card can properly be discarded.
Poison/Disease/Curse – Special types of enchantment cards that have extremely long lasting effects and are typically difficult to Break (read about _Break_ing an enchantment below).
Encounter – These types of cards may only return to your deck after a fight when the character takes momentary relief from the strains of battle.
Daily – Daily cards are often exceptionally powerful abilities capable of changing the tides of battle in one’s favour. After being used and discarded, they may only be returned to your deck after an extended period of rest.
Range – The number of targets a card affects and the reach or area of its effects.
Attack – Describes what attack score needs to surpass which defense score in order to successfully land the attack.
Hit – Describes the effects of a successful attack.
Secondary Attack – If the first or primary attack was successful, then the secondary attack may be made.
Break – Enchantment spells tend to have effects that last longer than a turn. Any player affected by the enchantment is guaranteed one chance to try to break it at the beginning of his/her turn by meeting the requirements described in this section. The effects of an enchantment will occur after the player attempts to break it.


Other Important Details to Combat

Hero Chips

Hero chips can have several functions within the game. However, they are often used to increase or decrease the final total of any die roll or defense value during combat.

After any attack roll or damage roll is made, players may choose to spend any number of hero chips to boost the value of his/her attack roll or defense score, to increase the damage (or HP) to be dealt, or to reduce the damage received. For each chip spent, a 1 point bonus is added or subtracted from the final value. Both the attacker and defender may contribute as many hero chips as they can, and do so as many times as they want.

Hero chips can often be acquired from the use of spells or combat abilities, by making an attack with a weapon, or by consuming a potion or food that grants hero chips. Many weapons when used to strike will automatically grant hero chips regardless of whether or not the attack lands. Similarly, spells will automatically grant hero chips when cast. The number of hero chips gained is 1 up until the character reaches level 6. At this point, 2 hero chips are gained per spell cast. In this situation, the chips are always awarded before any rolls are actually made and damage (if there is any) dealt. Should a combat technique or spell otherwise reward hero chips, the card will specify who may receive hero chips and how many are received.

Players start with hero chips equal to their Combat Training skill when a battle begins, and lose all hero chips gained when a battle ends. A player may have a maximum of 5 hero chips at any point, but this value may be increased by investing into the skills, Combat Mastery or Arcane Mastery. Your maximum is equal to your Combat Mastery, Arcane Mastery or 5, whichever of the three is the highest value.

Gaining Advantages in Combat

There are an uncountable number of factors or means to sway the tides of battle in your favour or against it. Poor weather conditions, fighting from higher/lower ground, or impenetrable darkness may grant you bonuses or instill penalties on the actions that you take. Generally speaking, any clear advantage/disadvantage grants a 2 point bonus/penalty in most cases. From there the DM will asses the situation and determine if a greater bonus/penalty is needed.

  • Clear Advantage = +2
  • Unfair Advantage = +4
  • Failure Nearly Impossible = +8

Surprise Round

If the players or a group of enemies are caught unaware, the attacking party may engage in a surprise attack round against the unsuspecting victims. In this scenario, any person in the attacking party may take a surprise turn before the defenders can respond. On the surprise turn, players may only place 2 cards into the hand. However, the defenders cannot use any abilities or hero chips in response, nor do they get their +10 awareness bonus to their defense scores.


Creatures who are unconscious or completely immobilized are considered unaware. Being unaware deprives you of your +10 awareness bonus to defense scores.


If a creature is surrounded by 2 adjacent enemies on complete opposite sides to each other, the creature is considered flanked. A flanked creature grants anyone who attacks it 2 hero chips.

Attacks of Opportunity

Certain actions, if performed by someone within melee-striking distance of enemies, grant those enemies an immediate standard attack against that character/creature. This is known as an Attack of Opportunity. If you are in a space threatened by an attacker who could potentially hit you with a melee attack, these actions will draw attacks of opportunity:

  • Moving more than 1 space in your turn
  • Casting a spell
  • Making a ranged attack
  • Performing a difficult combat technique that you are not trained in
  • Doing anything that makes you drop your guard

Each player/creature is only allowed to make 1 attack of opportunity within a round.


Combat as the Dungeon Master

As the DM controls several creatures in a single battle, the rules for creating a hand and holding hero chips are different from that of PC’s.

Unit Groups

All creatures of the same name are grouped together and effectively share the same turn, hand and hero chips.

The initiative rolled for the creature at the beginning of a battle represents the initiative for all creatures in that unit group. Any effects that might change a single creature’s initiative or turn order, instead affect the entire group.

A hand of combat technique, spell and/or item cards are shared within a single unit group. Like cards belonging to players, they are discarded after being used. However, unlike player cards, most DM cards will be returned to the hand at the start of a new round. Some cards, noted as [Recharge] cards will only return to the hand when the recharge conditions are met.

Hero chips are pooled together in a similar manner, and any attacks that would cause a single creature to lose hero chips would result in a deduction from the hero chip pool for that unit group. In the case any effect causes several units of a group to lose hero chips, the total resulting loss of hero chips for all affected units will be subtracted from the pool. For example, if two goblins were affected by a spell that forced the creature to lose 2 hero chips, a total of 4 hero chips would be subtracted from the pool.

Combat Rules and Building Decks

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